Inquest into death of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee set to take place

An inquest into the death of Archie Battersbee, who was at the centre of a legal battle between his parents and a hospital, is set to take place.

The 12-year-old’s life support was withdrawn on August 6 2022 after his parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, failed in bids to overturn a High Court ruling that doctors could lawfully do so.

Judges were told Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head at home in Southend in Essex on April 7 last year.

A two-day inquest into his death is scheduled to take place in Chelmsford from Tuesday.

Archie Battersbee court case
Hollie Dance (Aaron Chown/PA)

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, thought he was brain-stem dead and said continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests.

Ms Dance thinks he may have been taking part in an online challenge, and he suffered brain damage.

Essex’s senior coroner Lincoln Brookes said at a preliminary inquest hearing in November last year, he had seen no evidence that Archie was taking part in any online blackout challenge but had been told that police found messages on the youngster’s phone reflecting “very low mood”.

At the outset of the hearing, Mr Brookes told them: “May I offer my deepest condolences to the both of you and to the many members of Archie’s family who can’t be here today.”

He said the topics that the full inquest will cover will include Archie’s medical cause of death and his “state of mind and his intentions on April 7 2022”.

Ms Dance told The Guardian threatening WhatsApp messages targeting her son have been released as part of the disclosure process ahead of the inquest.

She said: “So to think that my little boy had been trolled prior to this and we had no idea whatsoever is absolutely heart-breaking.”

She believes they were not related to her son’s death as they largely stopped before the fatal incident, the newspaper reported.